Original Proposal -- Merchants of Doubt -- May 9th


Our focus will be the long-time NY Times best-seller “Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming” by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M.M. Conway – Paperback 5/24/2011 ($12.16 from Amazon.com + shipping – 274 pages).

Naomi Oreskes is one of the world’s leading historians of science. Professor of History and Science Studies at the University of California, San Diego, and Adjunct Professor of Geosciences at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, her PhD is in Geological Research and the History of Science.

Her research focuses on consensus and dissent in science. She has won numerous prizes for her work, and has lectured widely in such diverse venues as the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory. Her 2004 essay “The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change,” cited by Al Gore in An Inconvenient Truth, led to Op-Ed pieces in the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the San Francisco Chronicle, and to Congressional testimony in the U.S Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

Erik Conway is the historian at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. He examines the intersections of space science, Earth science, and technological change. He most recently received the 2009 NASA History award for “pathbreaking contributions to space history ranging from aeronautics to Earth and space sciences,” and the 2009 AIAA History Manuscript Award for his fourth book, “Atmospheric Science at NASA: A History.”

Conway became a historian after serving as an officer in the US Navy in the early 1990s, where he had minor roles in planning the US withdrawal from Somalia and the non-combatant evacuation from Rawanda. He met Oreskes at an International Commission for the History of Meteorology meeting in Polling, Germany, in 2004, and began a long conversation about the denial network. This book is one product of that dialog.
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